The Women’s Tennis Organization suspended and fined a Russian tennis chief Saturday after he made a demeaning remark about Serena and Venus Williams on a television show, CNN reports.
Shamil Tarpischev referred to the tennis stars as “the Williams brothers” during a recent appearance on the late-night Russian talk show Evening Urgant. He made the comment while discussing the difficulty of beating the Williams sisters. Serena has 18 grand slam titles and Venus seven, the report says.
The WTA chief Stacey Allaster excoriated Tarpischev in a statement that announced a one-year suspension and a maximum fine of $25,000. She also announced that the group is seeking his removal as chairman of the board of the Kremlin Cup for one year.
"The statements made by Shamil Tarpischev on Russian television with respect to two of the greatest athletes in the history of women's tennis are insulting, demeaning and have absolutely no place in our sport," she said, according to the report.
Following the uproar, Tarpischev apologized Saturday, saying the insult was an attempt to be funny. "Serena and Venus [Williams] are without doubts outstanding athletes," he said in a statement released by Russia's tennis federation.
Watch Serena's response below:
Read more at CNN.